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Interview: Victoria Luzuriaga Bastidas, Co-Curator of @Exhibition By El Sótano Art Space in Brooklyn
The Artistry Of Digital Communication
By The Editors
El Sótano Art Space may have a physical location in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood, but that's not stopping this socially-minded venue from venturing into the digital realm. El Sótano just launched @Exhibition, an online art project centered around email. The site features the conceptual work of our founder Christine Sloan Stoddard, as well as other artists from around the world, and will continue to expand. We asked co-curator Victoria Luzuriaga Bastidas a few questions about @Exhibition—over email, naturally. Here's a glimpse of our conversation:
What is your aim with @Exhibition?
As an art space dedicated to art conversation and accessibility, we wanted to explore the different forms in which art can exist and be distributed and shared among the public. Email, being such a widely used and free platform for communication, seemed like an interesting medium to explore as a canvas. We decided to ask artists to question the ways in which an email can become a foundation for art and interpret that in their own way. The results were astounding!
How did you develop the idea for @Exhibition?
All of our exhibitions and events are a collaborative process between the three of us at El Sótano. For this one, Julio Alejandro Rodriguez, our co-founder and co-director, proposed the idea of using email as a medium. From there, Nicholas Fung and I, along with Julio, sat down to think of the logistics and further develop the concept. We were originally going to create a physical exhibition in our space, but we felt that was limited and was hypocritical to our original concept of being universally accessible. We then teamed up with a great friend of ours, Diana Victoreen, who is a Brooklyn-based web designer, graphic designer, and hand-poke tattoo artist, to help us bring this concept into the digital reality. She coded and designed the website, her own contribution and creation for the exhibition.
How have you noticed email and the social function of email evolve?
With the increase of social media and different messaging platforms, email seems to now sit between work-related content, spam, and promotional material. It is no longer the main use of direct communication since that can all be done through text message. Even so, the concept of art within a digital communication realm has rarely been explored or considered, which is why we decided to ask artists to take on this creative endeavor. We received a great number of wonderful submissions and we're excited to see the various ways in which artists were able to take this concept into their own hands and create something new and original.
What creative potential do you see in email and where do you hope it goes?
We are keeping this open call ongoing, so at any point in time, people can submit by sending an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also encouraging artists to send us links to attach to images, words, text, etc. in their artwork that can then lead to whatever they desire. We see this digital medium as the perfect way to explore a variety of connections and pathways for communication and conversation. Since it is online and free to anyone, it allows for a greater audience to experience these artworks and learn about the artists.
How can people actually experience @Exhibition?
We just launched our online exhibition today! The link is https://atexhibition-elsotano.glitch.me/index.html# and anyone can interact and see all of the artworks there. As we receive more submissions, we will continue to upload them to grow the exhibition and our community of artists.